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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bulk Buying- The Hidden Savings

As of last night, I had around 350 pounds of dry food sitting in my house (or more!). You probably think I'm nuts, but I just received my bulk order of baking goods and got 250 pounds of food in one go, to add to the more than 100 pounds of  food I already had in my stockpile.
It's not always worthwhile to buy in bulk, but in many cases it is. If you're unsure whether or not such a move would be worthwhile, please read my previous post on the subject. For those situations in which buying bulk is cost efficient, I've put together a list of  the hidden savings entailed.

Bulk Buying- The Hidden Savings


No Running Out
When you buy 25-50 pounds of something at a time, you're not likely to run out of that food. For example, I just bought powdered milk in bulk. (50 pounds, to be exact!) While I used to run out of milk at least every week, if not 2, this milk will clearly last me a lot longer than that. Which helps you save in 2 ways.

  • Eliminating grocery runs. When you need milk because you've used it all up and you have a recipe calling for it, a trip to the store almost inevitably follows. The golden rule of frugal grocery shopping is to stay out of the store whenever possible, as you almost always walk out of the store with more than you'd intended to buy upon entering. Just by helping to eliminate extra grocery trips, buying bulk already is helping you save money.
  • Always getting sale prices. When you run out of a staple, you usually don't have time to wait for it to go on sale, because you need it now! So you might just end up paying more than you usually pay for an item if you run short. By buying in bulk, you can be assured that you won't end up paying high prices for things that you need ASAP.
  • No transportation cost. Gas is expensive. Taxis are expensive. Even buses are expensive if you take them frequently enough or take kids with you, or are traveling longer distances. And for the most part, you usually need to travel a bit to get decent prices. Each grocery shop, therefore, usually includes a hidden transportation cost above what gets written down on your receipt. Bulk buying eliminates trips to the store, cuts transportation costs, and thus saves you more money.
Less Trash
One of the bigger things I noticed about buying bulk is all the packaging you're not buying. Where I live, baking powder, for example, comes in packages, containing 10 envelopes of 2 teaspoons each. So for 20 teaspoons of baking powder (quite a measly amount), you're getting more than twice that volume in paper and plastic packaging.
  • Environmental reasons. I know this isn't a money savings, but environmental savings are definitely worthwhile as well. Just to cut back on all that excess packaging is definitely a good reason to bulk buy. No need to contribute to landfill problems.
  • Less trash. For people that need to pay for trash pickup and pay per bag, this is yet another way that buying bulk helps you save. 
  • Less packaging. You think all the packaging in non bulk foods come free? Nope! The company has to pay for the materials for packaging, as well as the production of it. By buying bulk, you're able to pay less because the company isn't spending money on packaging and passing on the cost to the buyers.
So... what did I buy?
50 pounds of oats.
50 pounds of powdered milk.
50 pounds of wheat gluten.
30 pounds of whole wheat flour.
25 pounds of powdered sugar. (I'm actually selling a large chunk of this to others, not keeping it for myself.)
25 pounds of chocolate chips. (Ditto. Selling these.)
12 pounds of baking powder.
12 pounds of instant mashed potatoes.
... and I already had leftovers of the 25 pounds of baking soda I bought last time as well as the 40 pounds of coconut oil from last time.
Wow. Lots of food. No danger of starving in THIS house! And by buying these things, I've saved myself a ton of money because the prices I got for these items were a fraction of what I'd pay for them, even on sale, in the grocery store. (If you want to know where I'm storing it all in my teeny tiny apartment, you'll have to wait for another post.)

Do you buy things in bulk? What do you buy in bulk? Why those items?

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